Raj Persaud in conversation - the podcasts
 

 

FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO 'STRANGER IN THE MIRROR - THE SCIENTIFIC SEARCH FOR THE SELF' BY ROBERT LEVINE (NEW PAPERBACK EDITION) PUBLISHED BY THE PRESS AT CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FRESNO

Introduction
Theseus’s Paradox
I used to subscribe to People.
Then I switched to Us.
Now I just read Self.
—My friend Lenny

I love hearing people talk about their “real” selves. I still remember my first girlfriend, the seemingly perfect Natalie Duberman,1
spooking me with the warning: “Be careful. You don’t know the real me.” Was she a werewolf? Could she be in the witness protection program? No, Natalie explained, “It’s just that I’m not this nice with guys I like.” She went on to detail how insecure, jealous, and passive-aggressive she had been with her first two boyfriends. I wondered what it would take for this new version of Natalie, the one I knew, to assume the mantle of “the real Natalie”? What if we were together for a year and, during that time, she never once became insecure, jealous, or passive-aggressive toward me? What if it stayed that way for ten years? How would she decide when the new
Natalie qualified as the real one?


Then there is my friend Lenny, who utilizes an infuriating twist on
Natalie’s warning. When Lenny acts badly—which, incidentally, is more or less constantly—he explains it away by saying, “Forgive me. I’m just not myself today.” Really? Who are you, then? Because I’d like to know the name of the guy I’m thinking about punching in the nose right now.


And when do you expect your real self to return? I’d like to lodge a complaint with him.

 

FROM AMAZON.CO.UK SITE

In Stranger in the Mirror, Robert Levine offers a provocative, wide-ranging, and entertaining scientific exploration of the most personal and important of all landscapes: the physical and psychological entity we call our self. Who are we? Where is the boundary between us and everything else? Are we all multiple personalities? And how can we control who we become?

Levine tackles these and other questions with a combination of surprising stories, case studies, and cutting-edge research--from biology, neuroscience, virtual reality, psychology, and many other fields. The result challenges cherished beliefs about the unity and stability of the self--but also suggests that we are more capable of change than we know.

Transformation, Levine shows, is the human condition at virtually every level. Physically, our cells are unrecognizable from one moment to the next. Cognitively, our self-perceptions are equally changeable: A single glitch can make us lose track of a body part or our entire body--or to confuse our very self with that of another person. Psychologically, we switch back and forth like quicksilver between incongruent, sometimes adversarial subselves. Socially, we appear to be little more than an ever-changing troupe of actors. And, culturally, the boundaries of the self vary wildly around the world--from the confines of one's body to an entire village.

The self, in short, is a fiction--vague, arbitrary, and utterly intangible. But it is also interminably fluid. And this, Levine argues, unleashes a world of potential. Fluidity creates malleability. And malleability creates possibilities.

Engaging, informative, and ultimately liberating, Stranger in the Mirror will change forever how you think about your self--and what it might become.

 

Direct download: raj_persaud_talks_to_professor_robert_levine.mp3
Category:(2) General Podcasts -- posted at: 6:45am UTC

You can also listen to this podcast using the free app 'Raj Persaud in Conversation' for Android and Apple mobile devices; the app gives you access to more interviews with world class experts plus more free information and bonus content on the latest cutting edge psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, self-help, social science and neuroscience then any other app and is available free from itunes app store and Google Play Store - click on these links
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Soul Machine

THE INVENTION OF THE MODERN MIND

 

A brilliant and comprehensive history of the creation of the modern Western mind.

Taken from http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Soul-Machine/

Soul Machine takes us back to the origins of modernity, a time when a crisis in religious authority and the scientific revolution led to searching questions about the nature of human inner life. This is the story of how a new concept—the mind—emerged as a potential solution, one that was part soul and part machine, but fully neither.

In this groundbreaking work, award-winning historian George Makari shows how writers, philosophers, physicians, and anatomists worked to construct notions of the mind as not an ethereal thing, but a natural one. From the ascent of Oliver Cromwell to the fall of Napoleon, seminal thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, Diderot, and Kant worked alongside often-forgotten brain specialists, physiologists, and alienists in the hopes of mapping the inner world. Conducted in a cauldron of political turmoil, these frequently shocking, always embattled efforts would give rise to psychiatry, mind sciences such as phrenology, and radically new visions of the self. Further, they would be crucial to the establishment of secular ethics and political liberalism. Boldly original, wide-ranging, and brilliantly synthetic, Soul Machine gives us a masterful, new account of the making of the modern Western mind. 

ENDORSEMENTS & REVIEWS

“An enlightening and gracefully written account of a vital aspect of our history that few of us are aware of—the replacement of the soul by the mind, and the struggle to understand its foundations in the brain.” — Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought

“In this sweeping, authoritative, and lively account, George Makari chronicles the emergence of the modern mind as an appealing yet unstable object of scientific inquiry, and shows why the long-standing goal of establishing boundaries between it and the brain and even the soul has proven so elusive. Illuminating and highly engaging.” — Elizabeth Lunbeck, author of The Americanization of Narcissism

“An erudite exploration of the high-stakes struggle to make space in the modern world for that part of our being we call our minds.” — Anne Harrington, Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University and author of The Cure Within

“George Makari has written an all-encompassing and invigorated account of how we have come to think about the acts of thinking and feeling. This is a book brimming with knowledge and lucid observations, one that helps us to understand the evolution of our contemporary sensibility.” — Daphne Merkin, author of The Fame Lunches


FROM www.bloomsbury.com/uk/disenchantment-9781472949745/

About Disenchantment

Workplace disenchantment can cause major issues for organisations – productivity decreases, employees can turn actively destructive and individual health and well-being can deteriorate. Most people start a job happy enough and determined to do a good job – if they are lucky, they have found a job which suits their skills and values. They may be eager, hopeful and willing to be engaged. So when and why do they become disenchanted and demotivated? 

In this new book, Adrian Furnham and Luke Treglown look at several theories into job satisfaction and workplace motivation. They explore how much of a motivator money really is, and which personality profiles are more likely to lead to a disruptive, disenchanted employee. 

Disenchantment discusses the related and identifiable behaviours that very clearly lead to disenchantment, and how individuals and organisations can work to prevent this and boost motivation and engagement in a way that is practicable and sustainable. Keeping employees motivated takes more than just ensuring they're not unhappy, and Disenchantment outlines some of the ways that organisations can manage this.

Reviews

“Superb insight into one of the most difficult areas of the workplace. This book should be required reading for C-suite and HR professionals alike.” –  David Charters, Author and Founder of PartnerCapital

“Adrian and Luke's work is as timely as it is relevant, providing an analytical framework and practical advice to address disenchantment. Read this book to learn what motivates and what demotivates us at work.” –  Ernst von Kimakowitz, Director and Co-founder of the Humanistic Management Center

“A great reference guide for leaders and organizations in understanding why people react the way they do, and breaks some popular assumptions about how to get the best and avoid the worst we often see around us or experience ourselves.” –  Chris Roebuck, Visiting Professor of Transformational Leadership, Cass Business School

“In this briskly written and keenly observed book, Adrian and Luke toss aside the prevailing myths regarding the alleged power of Anglo-Saxon management techniques to explain why 70% of the modern workforce hate their jobs.” –  Robert Hogan, CEO Hogan Assessments USA

“This book thoroughly explains causes and effects … and by implication suggests what can be done to change malpractices. The book is inspiring and well written and is hereby recommended.” –  Professor Oyvind Martinsen, BI: Norwegian School of Management

“Nails the key characteristics of poor managers, from arrogance and volatility through to habitual mistrust, and the consequence of this in the cultures and environments they create. This book gives a great insight into the shadow side of people, organizations and culture.” –  Chris Woodman, Founder of Leadenhall Consulting

“It is a very engaging, challenging and important book that should read by everyeone interested in managing and caring for people at work … a must-read for HR professionals.” –  Professor Sir Cary Cooper, Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

“If you want the kind of things that money can't buy, then this book, another real page-turner from the Adrian Furnham stable, will come closest to buying you love and happiness.” –  Erik de Haan, Director of Ashridge Centre for Coaching & Professor of Organisation Development, VU University

“Adrian's and Luke's work is challenging, practical, thoughtful and accessible. Reading this work stimulates thinking about the challenges and complexities of managing people. It goes way beyond the simplistic solutions posed by many of their contemporaries.” –  Mike Haffenden, CEO Strategic Dimensions London

“A thought provoking read and good primer for being able to deal with reality as it unfolds.” –  Jason Devereux, PhD, Workplace Transformation Consultant, KPMG

Direct download: DR-100_0088.mp3
Category:(2) General Podcasts -- posted at: 3:33pm UTC

First published in 1946, Viktor Frankl’s memoir Man’s Search for Meaning remains one of the most influential books of the last century, selling over ten million copies worldwide and having been embraced by successive generations of readers captivated by its author’s philosophical journey in the wake of the Holocaust. This long-overdue reappraisal examines Frankl’s life and intellectual evolution anew, from his early immersion in Freudian and Adlerian theory to his development of the “third Viennese school” amid the National Socialist domination of professional psychotherapy. It teases out the fascinating contradictions and ambiguities surrounding his years in Nazi Europe, including the experimental medical procedures he oversaw in occupied Austria and a stopover at the Auschwitz concentration camp far briefer than has commonly been assumed. Throughout, author Timothy Pytell gives a penetrating but fair-minded account of a man whose paradoxical embodiment of asceticism, celebrity, tradition, and self-reinvention drew together the complex strands of twentieth-century intellectual life.

Timothy Pytell is Chair of the History department at California State University, San Bernardino. He published an abridged version of this biography, titled Viktor Frankl: Das Ende eines Mythos, in German in 2005.

REVIEWS

“Pytell’s perceptive study should be read by any student of the Holocaust and any student of the postwar history of humanistic psychology. Pytell judges Frankl, but does so with generosity and compassion. Frankl, too, was a victim of the Holocaust.” · Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“This work is a great case study in the intellectual history of the twentieth century and the impact of the Holocaust therein.” · Journal of Austrian Studies

“The book has extensive notes and a major bibliography that includes interviews, periodicals, and unpublished documents. Frankl’s logotherapy—from logos, meaning—emphasizes creativity, love, and our attitude toward ‘unalterable fate.’ Some critics view logotherapy as superficial, offering consolation more than challenge. Intellectually demanding, this is a scholarly, commendable biography and intellectual history. Lay readers will be challenged; psychologists and historians will be grateful.” · Library Journal (starred review)

“Pytell’s book fills an important gap in the literature on one of the most famous and, until now, least controversial psychotherapists of the twentieth century. Unlike earlier works on Frankl, this book avoids hagiography and places Frankl in the full political, social, historical, and intellectual contexts of his times. It is the first work to synthesize Frankl’s life and work in his time and place.” · Geoffrey Cocks, Albion College

From www.berghahnbooks.com/title/PytellViktor

Direct download: raj_persaud_talks_to_timothy_pytell.mp3
Category:(2) General Podcasts -- posted at: 7:26am UTC

Russell Grant Foster, CBE, FRS FMedSci is a British professor of circadian neuroscience, the Director of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and the Head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute.

www.ox.ac.uk/research/research-in-conversation/healthy-body-healthy-mind/russell-foster

'Fundamentally, what I'm excited about and trying to understand is how the core mechanisms of sleep and 24-hour circadian rhythms are generated and regulated within the central nervous system, and then use this fundamental knowledge for translational studies – to inform therapeutic approaches that will improve the quality of life for individuals and their family across a broad spectrum of health conditions where sleep is severely disrupted, from eye disease to mental illness.

Direct download: DR-100_0087.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10pm UTC

He was responding to a reappraisal of one of Oliver Sacks' lesser known books describing the doctor's own paralysis and body image disorder. He writes:
 
 
This is a timely reappraisal of one of Oliver Sacks' less well-known works. The authors argue that the sense of detachment from his leg that Sacks felt after his injury and surgery was ‘functional/psychogenic’. Stone and colleagues take Sacks' account at face value and are at pains to label it repeatedly as ‘genuine’. Their aim is to go beyond Cartesian dualism, a common aspiration but one hard to achieve in practice, such is the hold it has on our explanatory frameworks. Stone et al approach the ‘case’ like the good clinicians that they are and attempt to ‘get above the lesion’. There is no mind–brain divide but there is a hierarchy: from the peripheral nerves up through the neuraxis to the cortex. But that is as far as it goes: in the materialist world, there is nothing else. A disorder of will seems the best formulation and is made without implied criticism or facetiousness...
 
The piece continues and can be found at the link below - hear Professor Anthony David discussing his take on Oliver Sacks in this free to download podcast
 
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;83(9):869. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2012-303051
 

References

Direct download: DR-100_0085.mp3
Category:(2) General Podcasts -- posted at: 5:30pm UTC

Are those sympathetic to violent protest and terrorism suffering from psychological problems?

Professor Kamaldeep Bhui works as a clinical academic psychiatrist in London. He qualified in Medicine at the United Medical Schools of Guy's & St Thomas in 1988, and subsequently worked at the Maudsley, Institute of Psychiatry, Guy's, King's, St Thomas' Hospitals and Medical Schools being appointed to his first consultant clinical academic post as a senior lecturer in 2000.

He was appointed Professor in 2003 at QMUL. Previously he was a Wellcome Training Fellow in Health Services Research and Senior Medical Officer in the policy research programme at Department of Health. He is Director at the Cultural Consultation Service at QMUL (Culturalconsultion.org) and Director of MSc Psychological Therapies, MSc Transcultural Mental Healthcare at QMUL and MSc Mental Health & Law.

He is also the co-founder of Careif (www.careif.org), an international mental health charity that promotes work for young people and their health through culture, sport and arts.

Professor Bhui is President of WACP and Public Health Lead at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

He is editor of British Journal of Psychiatry, and International Journal of Culture and Mental Health.

He is on the editorial board of Transcultural Psychiatry, Ethnicity and Health, Int.J.Social Psychiatry, and Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

His recent paper is titled: 

Pathways to sympathies for violent protest and terrorism

by 

Kamaldeep Bhui, Maria Joao Silva, Raluca A. Topciu and Edgar Jones

and is published in The British Journal of Psychiatry

 

From the paper:

Radicalisation is proposed to explain why some individuals begin to support and take part in violent extremism. However, there is little empirical population research to inform prevention, and insufficient attention to the role of psychiatric vulnerabilities. In this study a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of Pakistani and Bangladeshi men and women from two English cities were investigated. Depressive symptoms were associated with a higher risk of Sympathies for Violent Protest and Terrorism.

Direct download: raj_persaud_talks_to_kamaldeep_bhui.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm UTC

Some surprising causes of mental illness - interview with Ardesheer Talati Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology (Psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center

Raj Persaud talks to Ardesheer Talati.

Ardesheer Talati’s research focuses on understanding long-term clinical, behavioral, and neurobiological problems in offspring that result from prenatal exposures.  Two particular areas of interest are tobacco and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant exposures during pregnancy. Although the rates of smoking have decreased in the general population, about 5-10% of women smoke during pregnancy today. On the other hand, the rates of antidepressant medication use have been rising. When used in pregnancy, both nicotine and SSRIs cross the placental and the blood-brain barriers and thus can enter the developing fetal brain.  His research focuses on trying to understand what (if any) the long term consequences of these exposures are, with a particular focus on brain development. For example, he tests whether maternal smoking or use of SSRIs during pregnancy impairs normative development of fetal brain structure, connectivity, and circuitry; and if so, whether those alterations persist through childhood development and increase risk for clinical or behavioral disorders.

American Journal of Psychiatry Volume 170, Issue 10, October 2013, pp. 1178-1185

Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy and Bipolar Disorder in Offspring

Ardesheer Talati, Ph.D., Yuanyuan Bao, M.S., Jake Kaufman, B.A., Ling Shen, Ph.D., Catherine A. Schaefer, Ph.D., and Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H

 


Why are the children of depressed parents more likely to die earlier and from unnatural causes?

Dr Raj Persaud talks to Professor Myrna Weissman about what happens to the children of depressed people

HEADLINE FINDING OF THIS MAJOR NEW STUDY:

There was increased mortality in the children whose parents had serious depression (5.5% compared with 2.5%) due to unnatural causes, with a nearly 8-year difference in the mean age at death (38.8 years compared with 46.5 years in the control group - children of parents without depression).

 

From The American Journal of Psychiatry Volume 173, Issue 10, October 01, 2016, pp. 1024-1032

 

Offspring of Depressed Parents: 30 Years Later

 

Myrna M. Weissman, Ph.D., Priya Wickramaratne, Ph.D., Marc J. Gameroff, Ph.D., Virginia Warner, Dr.P.H., Daniel Pilowsky, M.D., M.P.H., Rajni Gathibandhe Kohad, M.D., M.P.H., Helena Verdeli, Ph.D., Jamie Skipper, M.A., Ardesheer Talati, Ph.D.

 

While the increased risk of psychological problems in the biological offspring of depressed parents has been widely studied and replicated, the long-term outcome through their full age of risk is less known. The authors present a 30-year follow-up of biological offspring (mean age=47 years) of depressed (high-risk) and nondepressed (low-risk) parents.

One hundred forty-seven offspring of moderately to severely depressed or non-depressed parents selected from the same community were followed for up to 30 years.

The risk for major depression was approximately three times as high in the high-risk offspring. The period of highest risk for first onset was between ages 15 and 25 in both groups. Pre-pubertal onsets were uncommon, but high-risk offspring had over 10-fold increased risk. The increased rates of major depression in the high-risk group were largely accounted for by the early onsets, but later recurrences in the high-risk group were significantly increased. The high-risk offspring continue to have overall poorer functioning and receive more treatment for emotional problems. There was increased mortality in the high-risk group (5.5% compared with 2.5%) due to unnatural causes, with a nearly 8-year difference in the mean age at death (38.8 years compared with 46.5 years).

The authors of the study conclude that the offspring of depressed parents remain at high risk for depression, morbidity, and mortality that persists into their middle years. While adolescence is the major period of onset for major depression in both risk groups, it is the offspring with family history who go on to have recurrences and a poor outcome as they mature. In the era of personalized medicine, until a more biologically based understanding of individual risk is found, a simple family history assessment of major depression as part of clinical care can be a predictor of individuals at long-term risk.


Could warming up the body cure depression?

Raising Body Temperature Relieves Depression Symptoms, Small Study Finds

 

www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/raising-body-temperature-relieves-depression-symptoms-small-study-finds/48472

 

Madison, Wisconsin — Raising the body temperature of depressed volunteers to the equivalent of a mild fever improved their symptoms of major depression for as long as six weeks after a single treatment, results from a new study show.

 

Researchers led by Dr. Charles Raison of the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a small, double-blind trial to test whole-body hyperthermia as a novel treatment for major depression.

 

They evaluated the depressed volunteers on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and found that 60 percent of them had a response and 40 percent met the criteria for remission of depression during at least one assessment after having received the treatment.

 

“Our hope is to find better and faster-acting treatments for depression than the antidepressants currently in use,’’ says Raison. “We think that using heat to stimulate the skin activates serotonin-producing cells in the mid-brain, which then produce a change in how the brain functions. In a way, one might think of this pathway from the skin to the brain as a deep-brain stimulator crafted by evolution. We tap into this pathway because heat makes the brain feel happy.”

 

The researchers used a whole-body hyperthermia device to raise the body temperatures of 16 volunteers to 38.5 Celsius, the equivalent of about 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Another 14 were randomized to a “sham” procedure that had them lie inside the hyperthermia device with fans and lights, but only a small amount of heat, not the intense infrared heat that produced the full treatment.

 

“Our sham intervention was so realistic that most of the participants (10 of 14) thought they were receiving the real treatment,’’ says Raison. That is important, because it suggests the antidepressant response was not due primarily to placebo factors associated with the treatment.

 

The real hyperthermic treatment improved depression scores by a mean of 5.67 points more than the sham at week one and a mean difference of 4.83 points at six weeks after the treatment. The HDRS rates scores of 0 to 7 to be normal, 8 to 13 to indicate mild depression, 14 to 18 to indicate moderate depression and 19 and above to indicate severe and very severe depression.

 

Researchers screened 338 volunteers and wound up with 34 patients with HDRS scores of 16 and above. The two arms began with 17 volunteers each, but with dropouts, 15 wound up completing the whole-body hyperthermia and 14 the sham treatment.

 

Those receiving the active treatment were in a type of tent, and were heated on their chest by infrared lights and on their legs with infrared heating coils. After their body core temperature reached 38.5 degrees Celsius (usually after about an hour and half) the heat was turned off and they were allowed to cool for an hour.

 

A week after treatment, researchers who were blinded to whether the volunteers had the real treatment or not assessed their depression levels using HDRS. Further assessments were made at two, four and six weeks. Self-reports also showed lessening of symptoms, although not as dramatic. Both groups reported only mild adverse effects.

 

“We were surprised to see that the effect (of reduced depression symptoms) was still present six weeks after the initial treatment,’’ Raison says.

 

Co-author Christopher Lowry, associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, showed in an earlier study that whole-body heating activates neurons in the brain that synthesize the neurochemical serotonin, an effect that is shared by antidepressant drugs. In addition, Lowry said, “We know that warming the skin activates areas of the brain where activity is low in depressed patients.”

 

One brain area activated by heating the skin, the medial orbitofrontal cortex, is involved in the regulation of mood. This area of the brain responds to pleasant sounds, smells, images, tastes and other stimuli. A premise of the research is that certain sensory pathways evolved to mediate antidepressant-like responses. Lowry says depression is associated with over-activity of the brain’s default-mode network, which is engaged when a person is ruminating.

 

But throughout evolution, certain conditions made such a state of mind “extremely maladaptive,” Lowry observes. Extreme heat would demand that people shift their attention from internal thoughts to the external world.

 

Raison says that the current study extends results from an earlier open-treatment study his group did in Switzerland in inpatient volunteers with major depression. Hyperthermia has been used for many years, primarily in Europe, as part of a cancer-fighting regimen, although whole-body hyperthermia to treat cancer typically raises the body temperature to temperatures much higher than used in the depression studies.

 

According to Raison, the results of the small study are encouraging, but he cautions that because the sample size was small, more research is needed to determine how hyperthermia should be optimally delivered in terms of the temperature used and the amount of time patients are exposed to the heat. Additionally, the results may have been confounded by volunteers’ expectations that the treatment would work.

 

Raison is the Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Chair for Healthy Minds, Children & Families in the UW School of Human Ecology. He is also a member of the psychiatry faculty in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

 

The study was conducted at the University of Arizona and funded by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the Depressive and Bipolar Disorder Alternative Treatment Foundation, the Institute for Mental Health Research, the Braun Foundation and Barry and Janet Lang and Arch and Laura Brown.

 

Clint Talbott, communications director at CU-Boulder’s College of Arts and Sciences, contributed to this report.